The United States has had a lot of influence on countries all over the world. China shares a very interesting diplomatic history with the United States, and thus the study of the influence that the U.S. has had on China has been a subject of interest for many scholars.
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The relationship between the U.S. and China was, perhaps at its worst during the 1960’s and the 1970’s during the Vietnam War.
Due to the collateral effects of the war, and the interactions of the two countries that were necessitated by the war, the two countries had a chance to learn from each other, with China being the greatest beneficiary of the two.
This paper is an exploration of the influence that the United States had on the social, economic and political set-up of the People’s Republic of China.
There was a lot of influence on the social set-up of the People’s Republic of China from the United States in the two decades from 1960 to 1980. The Chinese community, after interacting with a number of countries, and after learning the social set-up of the United States, embarked on a revolution of its social and cultural set-up.
A famous phrase that was popular then is the “Destruction of the Four Olds” (Lum 41), that meant that the republic was trying to abandon old customs, old ideas, old customs and old cultures in a bid to be a civilized society.
This policy of cultural and social revolution was an idea spearheaded by the then President, Mao Zedong. It was a policy that earned him substantial popularity, and arguably paralyzed people within the republic who were fighting political battles with him.
The revolution also touched on religious issues. During the revolution, religiousness was viewed as a feudalistic aspect. By the end of the revolution, the Republic had also tried to revolutionize its universities to make them better.
It was also during this time, in the 1970’s, that the Chinese spelling system became approved by the state. This can also be viewed as an influence of the West and Britain due to their adoption of the English language and English phonetics before the Chinese approved their phonetics.
The economy of China was greatly influenced by the U.S. Although no direct link can be established for the influence, educational systems in China mirror those of the U.S. Many industrial ideas that can be credited with the contemporary economic welfare of China have their origin in the U.S.
For instance, computer technology, which originated in the United States, is a current sensation among the intellectual community in China.
In China, courtesy of the huge population, there are a large number of freelance programmers, website developers, and even support services. China has also developed to be a leader in offshoring, which can be associated with computer technology.
The political conflict between the United States and China began with the Vietnam War, during which North Vietnam was fighting with the south, with the U.S. supporting the south and China supporting Northern Vietnam.
The relationship even worsened after the United States government made a decision to invade Cambodia, a Chinese territory during the Vietnam War. This occurred in the 1st day of May, in the year 1970.
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This event even led to the death of students in the U.S. at the Kent State University, where demonstrators, mostly students, were protesting the decision by the U.S. government to invade Cambodia. After the escalation of the Cambodia situation, the U.S. started diplomatic relations with China, in a bid to end the Cambodia invasion.
President Nixon made a visit to Mao Zedong in February 1972. As a result of this meeting, and other measures taken to end the Vietnam War, and recall U.S. troops from Cambodia, the Vietnam War ended in January 1973. This was after the parties who were privy to the war signed a peace pact.
The invasion of the U.S. troops in Cambodia was also ended subsequently in the month of August, the same year, ending a series of bombings by the U.S. troops in Cambodia.
Even after the end of the Vietnam War and the withdrawal of United States forces from Cambodia, there was still animosity between the United States, and China.
This was especially the case with Cambodian forces. To evidence this, two years after withdrawal of United States forces from Cambodia, a U.S. ship, was seized by forces from Cambodia. Although troops from the U.S. later rescued the ship, 38 people are killed.
This was a major diplomatic blow for the two countries that were, by the time, trying to strengthen their relationship.
The battle that resulted after the seizing of Mayaguez, the ship, went down in history as the last battle of the Vietnam War in official records.
After the effects of the seizure of the Mayaguez ship were virtually erased by time from the political memory of the United States, the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China established diplomatic relations (“Republic of China, Circa 1970” 21). This was in the year 1979.
Another issue that has been a central issue in the relationship between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China is the involvement of the Chinese government in the production of weapons of mass destruction.
The United States has been concerned about the Advanced Weapons Programme of the Chinese government from as early as the first half of the twentieth century.
In a recent attempt to unveil the diplomatic relations between the United States and the Chinese government, a number of documents ranging from diplomatic cables to recently declassified documents were released. In some of those documents, the United States government had been monitoring the progress that was being made by the Chinese government in its Advanced Weapons Programme as early as 1963.
The U.S. government even had satellite pictures of nuclear plants in China. The first nuclear bomb made in China was reported to have been tested in the year 1964 (Dernberger 57).
This is almost the same time when the U.S. became actively involved in the Vietnam War. The increased production of weapons by the Chinese government, and its support of North Vietnam was a continued offence on the foreign policy of the United States.
This is because, as mentioned earlier, the U.S. supported South Vietnam. There was also sufficient evidence showing that the People’s Republic of China was having a missile programme.
From the discussion above, it is apparent that the United States has had a lot of influence on the social, economic and political set-up of China. This has been as a result of the relationship between the two countries, which was negative in the 1960’s and the 1970’s.
Among the greatest influence of the relationship between the two countries are perhaps the events of the Vietnam War that occurred in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
Although the two countries had a negative relationship at the time, it can be argued that the negative relationship made the two countries learn from each other, and gave them a chance to make up for lost time. Currently, there are good diplomatic ties between China and the United States.
Dernberger, Robert. “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists”. Journal of Science and Public Affairs.
Lum, Thomas. China and the U.S. Comparing Global Influence. New York. Barnes & Noble, 2007. Print.